Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Bus or Train Travel
Old 04-22-2014, 11:59 AM   #1
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Chicago area
Posts: 427
Bus or Train Travel

I flew to Philly last week for a short vacation. I was solo--DW and kids stayed home. I paid $310 for the round trip flight.

I took a look at greyhound and amtrak and they were both running in the $220 for RT fares. Interesting that a greyhound fare was only 30% less than flying. I thought it would be at least 50-60% less.

I've never traveled intercity by train or public bus. Since I was solo I thought it would be a fun experience but couldn't get the 20 hour each way travel time to work out.

I'm curious if anyone else here travels by bus or train or if there are other low-frills, low-cost ways of traveling within the US that people take advantage of? (Other than driving yourself, of course.)
__________________

__________________
AnIntentionalRoad is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 04-22-2014, 12:27 PM   #2
Moderator
Sarah in SC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Charleston, SC
Posts: 13,456
Bus and train in the USA are far more expensive than you'd think, and pretty inefficient compared to flying. I've only taken one train, back in high school, but I've been on plenty of cheap, convenient train rides in other countries.
And I've only ridden around in my OWN bus here in the states.

My BIL took the Megabus with a couple of his kids from Vermont to Boston and said it was quite nice, and a very new service for them.
__________________

__________________
“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it's worth watching.”
Gerard Arthur Way

Sarah in SC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2014, 12:36 PM   #3
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
HFWR's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Lawn chair in Texas
Posts: 12,964
Not sure I'd want to do a bus, but a train excursion, possibly the Coast Starlight (west coast between LA and Seattle) and the Empire Builder (Seattle-Chicago), is a bucket list item.

Issues seem to be the weird timing and/or schedules, caused in part because Amtrak has to yield to other trains, since they don't own the tracks.

Also, the ticket is relatively inexpensive, but adding sleeping arrangements brings the cost up a lot...
__________________
Have Funds, Will Retire

...not doing anything of true substance...
HFWR is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2014, 01:14 PM   #4
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Senator's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Eagan, MN
Posts: 3,047
Take an inner city train or bus after 7:30 PM or so. See if you like the hour or two on that trip. It is a different crowd than the 'going to work during rush hour' crowd.

There are great people that ride the bus at all hours, but there is also a different crowd that rides the bus after hours. That is when most of the bus/train crime happens.
__________________
Senator is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2014, 01:19 PM   #5
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
haha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Hooverville
Posts: 22,384
Quote:
Originally Posted by Senator View Post
Take an inner city train or bus after 7:30 PM or so. See if you like the hour or two on that trip. It is a different crowd than the 'going to work during rush hour' crowd.
A city bus is a zoo; same with the Hound. About 10 years ago rode the bus from Seattle to Reno. Who-Hoo, I didn't want to go asleep in that crowd.

Back 40 years or so, I rode a Hound from Dallas to SF. Great trip then.

I always enjoyed the deluxe intercity buses in Mexico. I remember the lines Tres Estrellas de Oro and Flecha Roja.

Ha
__________________
"As a general rule, the more dangerous or inappropriate a conversation, the more interesting it is."-Scott Adams
haha is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2014, 01:23 PM   #6
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Nemo2's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Belleville, ONT
Posts: 4,313
Never taken a train in the U.S., (nor in Canada, come to think of it), but have ridden them in the M.E., Europe, Australia, India, and have enjoyed them.......buses, not so much.
__________________
"Exit, pursued by a bear."

The Winter's Tale, William Shakespeare
Nemo2 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2014, 01:30 PM   #7
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
RetireAge50's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 1,121
Have taken both a bus and a train from Seattle to Vancouver BC.

Train was fun and scenic. Bus was good cheap transportation (Bolt bus only a dollar for one member of our group).
__________________
RetireAge50 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2014, 01:35 PM   #8
Moderator
MichaelB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Rocky Inlets
Posts: 24,445
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarah in SC View Post
Bus and train in the USA are far more expensive than you'd think, and pretty inefficient compared to flying. I've only taken one train, back in high school, but I've been on plenty of cheap, convenient train rides in other countries.
And I've only ridden around in my OWN bus here in the states.

My BIL took the Megabus with a couple of his kids from Vermont to Boston and said it was quite nice, and a very new service for them.
My niece used Megabus frequently when she was a student and thought it was a very good option. From her descriptions some very low prices are available.

Foreign train travel can be enjoyable and is probably safer than road travel. Bus could be, but only in you know the driver and fellow travelers well.
__________________
MichaelB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2014, 01:49 PM   #9
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Marita40's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: St. Paul
Posts: 1,118
I've taken Amtrak, Greyhound, and Megabus. Mostly from the Twin Cities to Chicago, but I also took the Empire Builder to Seattle last summer.

The buses were fine and on time. Amtrak is NOT for a traveler who has time commitments--at least not the Empire Builder. In January I thought it might be attractive to take it to Chicago, but a quick check on its website showed it was NEVER on time and more often 6-12 hours late. Therefore I'd have to spend a whole day at the station or checking from home as to when it would depart. The trouble is the oil fields in North Dakota (evidently).
__________________
Marita40 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2014, 05:34 PM   #10
Moderator
rodi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: San Diego
Posts: 8,807
I took the train from Santa Barbara to San Diego a few weeks ago. Delightful experience.

When I lived in suburban Philly - I used to take the train from Philly to New York, or Philly to DC semi-regularly. I was a witness in an IP arbitration and the IP law firm was in DC - it was faster to take the train than the plane because for a plane you have to get there early, go through security, etc. I actually picked my house because it was on the R1 septa line (direct to the airport) so I could leave my car at home when I went on vacation. Along the corridor from Boston to DC the train is the most efficient way to travel between cities.

But the train doesn't go everywhere - so that's where trailways and greyhound come in. I've used them. Not as nice as the train - but still an easy way to travel.

Comparing an inner city metro bus route to a long haul bus is not really a good or fair comparison.

With planes you have to factor in the pre-arrival time, parking expense, time to park and take the shuttle from the lot to the terminal, etc. - sometimes it's faster (and cheaper) by train. With wider seats and more leg room.
__________________
rodi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2014, 06:06 PM   #11
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
imoldernu's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Peru
Posts: 4,616
Chicago area... to south...

Caint git thar from here... either by bus or train...
__________________
imoldernu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2014, 06:13 PM   #12
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
steelyman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Triangle
Posts: 3,218
Quote:
Originally Posted by imoldernu View Post
Chicago area... to south...



Caint git thar from here... either by bus or train...

"Riding on The City Of New Orleans..."
__________________

steelyman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2014, 08:10 PM   #13
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2,555
I have not traveled by train since the mid 70s, except for train rides during tours. I really enjoyed it then. I booked our tickets today for train travel from Fredericksburg VA to NYC and back in May. Our total ticket prices were $423.50 for both of us. DH got the Senior discount and I used the AAA discount. After I booked it, it hit me that I probably could have received a cheaper rate if I used Round-Trip, instead of One Way, but I did not even think of it. Oh well, too much was going on at the time.

I rode a Greyhound bus as a teenager and did not enjoy it. I have not been on the Mega Bus yet, but I do want to try it someday. My DD's family went from Pittsburgh PA to NYC and back to Morgantown WV and liked it quite well. I don't think that I will ever do a Greyhound bus again.
__________________
Dreamer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2014, 08:28 PM   #14
Administrator
Gumby's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 10,137
Back when I was in the service, I sometimes rode the bus to go home on leave. My longest trip was NYC to St. Louis on the Greyhound. It was not at all comfortable, but there was this smoking hot girl who invited me to sit next to her, so I had something to occupy my time during the trip. She and I were so engaged in conversation that we almost got left behind at a coffee shop somewhere in Ohio in the middle of the night. It was only when another passenger said "Hey, where's the guy in the Navy uniform?" that the bus driver stopped and sent someone in to fetch us.
__________________
Living an analog life in the Digital Age.
Gumby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2014, 08:41 PM   #15
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
steelyman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Triangle
Posts: 3,218
There's worse places than Ohio you could get left with a girl (especially southern). And you're halfway to Illinois
__________________

steelyman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2014, 08:57 PM   #16
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Htown Harry's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,516
From what I have seen, one big difference in bus vs. train is the station experience.

I've never seen a bus station where I might want to spend any more than the minimum time necessary. Train stations, especially in the large cities, are generally much more pleasant. Some are actually worth seeing.

One downside to megabus is weird dropoff and pickup locations. Here in Houston they run out of a surface parking lot on the edge of downtown. A small portable building, few benches and some patio umbrellas are the only passenger amenities. Greyhound has an actual building with a waiting room and indoor plumbing.
__________________
No doubt a continuous prosperity, though spendthrift, is preferable to an economy thriftily moral, though lean. Nevertheless, that prosperity would seem more soundly shored if, by a saving grace, more of us had the grace to save.

Life Magazine editorial, 1956
Htown Harry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2014, 09:16 PM   #17
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Northern IL
Posts: 18,276
One possibility is that there are coach buses that run between big cities and college towns. We used to send our kids to school in Peoria on a charter bus that ran between a few stops around Chicago (ORD airport and Woodfield mall and Joliet), and similar ones to Bloomington/Normal and Champaign. About $30, decent schedule and a bunch of college kids from the 'burbs, so I'm guessing a safer crowd overall than the typical Greyhound bus.

-ERD50
__________________
ERD50 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2014, 10:17 PM   #18
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 7,526
I have done the Greyhound from Raleigh, NC to the Mexican border in Laredo, TX. This was 14 years ago. They were running a promotion for "anywhere in the country for $99 round trip". This was an all you can travel buffet, and I had quite the appetite for globetrotting. My meager college student budget could still afford this relatively cheap ticket to get me at least within walking distance of Mexico. So I went, and took my girlfriend (now wife) with me.

Let's just say the buses in Mexico were way nicer than the Greyhound here in the states. I did have the pleasure of riding next to an interesting gentleman while we were traveling from Louisiana to San Antonio. He was just released from prison he told me. The charges were bogus (it wasn't attempted murder, it was self defense, he is innocent of course!).

Somewhere around hour 3 of getting an earful of advice on all the best whorehouses in all the nice-sounding Mexican border towns, my conversation partner gently segued the conversation to what he was going to do once he finally got home. "Finishing the job" wasn't the first thing he mentioned (but mention it he did). Eat a "what a burger" (??). That's what he wanted to do first. He said they were so good and that's what he missed the second most while in prison all those years. Presumably his most missed activity isn't found in a burger joint, but rather in one of those Mexican border towns. The most disturbing part of the conversation was him describing the act of stabbing his victims in such a nonchalant manner. While he's not more than an arm's length away from me across the aisle. In the middle of the night in the darkness of the back of a Greyhound bus.

That wasn't the most colorful parts of our trip on Greyhound. But lest I bore you, I'll just say the next time I decide to take a bus across the country to get to Mexico, I'll be taking a first class Mexican bus. They depart from our neighborhood and have express service to all parts of Mexico. As haha says, the Mexican buses are pretty nice, and I remember them fondly. That one greyhound trip was enough excitement for me.
__________________
Retired in 2013 at age 33. Keeping busy reading, blogging, relaxing, gaming, and enjoying the outdoors with my wife and 3 kids (5, 11, and 12).
FUEGO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2014, 10:29 PM   #19
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Brat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 5,913
Quote:
Originally Posted by HFWR View Post
Not sure I'd want to do a bus, but a train excursion, possibly the Coast Starlight (west coast between LA and Seattle) and the Empire Builder (Seattle-Chicago), is a bucket list item.

Issues seem to be the weird timing and/or schedules, caused in part because Amtrak has to yield to other trains, since they don't own the tracks.

Also, the ticket is relatively inexpensive, but adding sleeping arrangements brings the cost up a lot...
If you want to take the Coast Starlight board close to it's starting point. Southbound that is Seattle or Portland, Northbound LA. There are two reasons: they are closer to the published schedule because of the aforementioned yielding to freight trains and because there hasn't been as much time for litter to accumulate.

The BOLT bus between Portland - Seattle - Vancouver(?) is highly regarded. It doesn't use the Greyhound station, it has nice seating with Wi-Fi and power outlets, and it can be as cheap as $5 between Portland and Seattle.
__________________
Duck bjorn.
Brat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2014, 10:30 PM   #20
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
38Chevy454's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 1,581
Here in the SW, any long-route bus is full of illegal aliens. It is how they move around once they jump the border. No ID's required, just pay your cash ticket and board the bus. I think Greyhound would be out of business if not for the illegal aliens using them.

My wife has wanted to take a train trip, for the scenery and the experience. Not for saving money or getting anywhere in a timely manner.
__________________

__________________
After Monday & Tuesday even the calendar says, W-T-F...

Semi-Retired 7/1/16: working part-time (60%) for now [4/24/16 changed to 80%]
Retired Aug 2, 2017; age 53
38Chevy454 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
U.S. Bus Tours BillNOVA Travel Information 5 08-16-2008 12:00 PM
Suicide bombers coming soon to a bus near you farmerEd Other topics 1 06-18-2007 05:22 PM
Bus Accident in Atlanta Buckeye Other topics 5 03-03-2007 12:15 PM
A different kind of Hawaii bus tour Nords Other topics 1 07-30-2006 11:14 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:47 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.